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Growth and Noise

Tony Travis ajt at rri.sari.ac.uk
Fri Jan 20 08:17:59 EST 1995

Carol M Lively (clively at net.onramp) wrote:
: In message <3fjr6k$l43 at ixnews3.ix.netcom.com>, MargeC at ix.netcom.com (Marge 
: Congress) writes:

: >How does sound energy effect a plant's behavior? From what I found out 
: >it does effect their growth a little bit. Is there any literature on the 
: >subject?
: >
: >Angela Phillipa
: >Mail to MargeC at ix.netcom.com
: [...]
: There is also a chapter on a guy named Dan Carlton, once again - if I
: remember correctly, who got into the Guinness World Book of Records with
: a Purple Passion plant that ended up being several miles long because of
: "the kind of music that it listened to" in addition to foliar sprayings
: which were applied whilst the plant enjoyed its entertainment.  (Has to do
: with mimicking bird song and how the stomata (little plant mouths)opened
: more widely because of it, thereby ingesting more nutrients.)

This is a classic example of 'confounding' where the effect of one
treatment cannot be separated from another: did the investigator apply
music and foliar spray treatments with replication and in factorial

ie. 1. control, 2. spray, 3. music, 4. spay and music.
    repeated on more than one set of plants selected at random.

If so, analysis of variance would reveal the effect of foliar spray,
music and the interaction between the two.  It would also assess the
probability that the observation could have happened by chance.

It seems to me that it was Dan, not the plant who was enjoying the
entertainment.  The observation of the growth of an exeptional plant is
not at issue here - the reason for the growth simply cannot be
explained on the basis of one observation.

On the topic of sound more generally, there is classic work by Walker
in the '60's demonstrating that shaking Pelargonium causes thicknening
of collenchyma cells:  I would, therefore expect Led Zeppelin at full
volume to be more effective than quiet Mozart.

I expect that stomata opening in response to bird song has more to do
with birds singing at dawn - when stomata open in response to light ...
this is known as the 'banana' effect (or non-causal relationship if you
want to be strictly accurate).

The 'banana' effect was discovered by a statistician who noticed that
banana imports and sales of particular shoe types in Grimsby, UK. were
highly correlated.  The reason why is left as an exercise for the net.

Dr. A.J.Travis,                       |  JANET: <ajt at uk.ac.sari.rri>
Rowett Research Institute,            |  other: <ajt at rri.sari.ac.uk>
Greenburn Road, Bucksburn,            |  phone: +44 (0)224 712751
Aberdeen, AB2 9SB. UK.                |    fax: +44 (0)224 716687

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